Last Sunday was a day that I will never forget! After a beautiful church service, we loaded up in the Tuk-Tuk and headed to town with our newest Ndoto student! Tony is a 6 year old who is a brother to one of our primary school girls, and he is deaf. After a few visitors have come to see what God is doing at Ndoto, God has stirred in the hearts of some to help Tony go to school.
Each student in our program is given a number when they enter, and Tony’s been given the number 114 and for a reason we cannot seem to come up with, his number has stuck as a new nickname! We are overjoyed that #114 is going to school!!!
We went to town to the big school store to buy his first EVER uniform, shoes, and backpack! For a kiddo that can’t hear and can’t communicate, I was so blown away by the moments in the store with Tony. His face said it all. He was completely enamored with all the clothes, soccer balls, and backpacks hanging in every corner. Tony was so stimulated with these new sights he was seeing, that I think it calmed our normally rambunctious kiddo down so much that he stood as still and quiet as a mouse the entire trip to town. The minute we gave him the tiny baby backpack to try on for size, he held on to it, smiled so big and never wanted to take it off. He tried on tiny shoes, and saw that he was getting so many new things. He just smiled and giggled. He may not say much, but as I learned in college and from good ole Will Smith in the movie Hitch, 90% of all communication is non verbal! So, I think Tony was communicating just fine with us! He was essentially telling me “I know I need to be on my best behavior. This is a special day. I’m really going to school?!? I love you guys!!” At one point, he even was so excited to try on new pajamas that match the uniforms for school, that he just dropped his trousers in the store until the lady helping us told them there was a dressing room. I don’t think it helped that he had no underwear on, but I also did not care because it was one of the most hilarious and precious things I’ve seen. His excitement about things is completely contagious!
He always wants to ride in Joshua’s tuk tuk and on Sunday he had his moment! He seemed to take in every second and every visual on the ride to the store. We even got him a small ice cream after we were done shopping, and his face seemed to scream, “this is the best day of my life”.
I think about the number of kids in his situation that probably will never get the chance to go to school in this country, and I could just weep. The generosity and the love that people have felt toward this precious kiddo blows my mind. Even more, the love that Jesus Christ has for Tony, to show him that he is not forgotten and that the creator of the universe cares about little Tony in Obunga…it leaves me simply overwhelmed. This kid has grabbed not just my heart, but I think all of us that have met him. There is a special light in his eyes and spunk in his step, and I am so excited to have him come back from boarding school in December and see what all he has learned and how he has grown! I have no doubt that I will again be overwhelmed with love and praise for my Savior!
It’s moments like this that I am so blessed to be in this place for this time. I’m seeing lives changed one by one, moment-by-moment all for the honor and glory of Jesus! As I think about Tony and the joy that he has about starting school, I am reminded that we have about 70 students that we want to enroll next year, and I am reminded of 70 faces that have heart-breaking stories and need hearts moved by love and generosity so that they can have the same joy. The joy of not being sent home for school fees or the joy of having more food in the house because their family’s burden is lightened financially is one I can barely fathom. This is the joy that awaits them as Allison and I and the team in the U.S. seek to find new sponsors to join us on this journey. I pray you will be willing to help or even to ask your friends or family. After seeing how it’s changing lives first hand, and sponsoring a girl who I see daily here, it is one of the greatest joys in life to change the course of someone else’s days.
trying out his new backpack and enjoying a treat in town in the tuk tuk!
As soon as the teacher’s strike is over, #114 will go to school (we’re praying it’s soon!), and he will come back changed. He will grow and learn, and we will learn how to communicate with him better. He will join us on retreats and he will hear the gospel…and maybe understand it for the first time. In this place, I am certain of a few things. God is able, Lives are changing, and the Love of Christ conquers all things.